How Do Period Panties Work?

There’s a lot of buzz about period panties lately. Do you know what they are and how they work? Several types of period panties are out there, so the answer to the question of how period panties work is different based on the type of garment you’re looking at.

Many period panty brands make undies that work by stopping leaks and soaking up menstrual blood. But then other brands differentiate themselves by focusing on holding pads in place, stopping leaks only or absorbing blood without going full-on waterproof. Keep reading to find out more about how period panties work.


1. Period Panties That Stop Leaks and Absorb Menstrual Blood

This is the biggest category of menstrual underwear. It’s period underwear that you can use in place of a tampon or pad because it absorbs menstrual blood and also stops leaks. If you’re looking to free bleed with panties, this is the kind to check out. But, how do period panties work to let you do that?

While each period panty brand is different and uses their own (often patented) fabrics and design, most of the panties that absorb blood AND stop leaks feature four layers of material in the crotch. Each layer has its own special job to do.

  1. Layer 1: The layer closest to the body is made to be soft and moisture-wicking so that fluid moves away from your body and keeps you feeling dry.
  2. Layer 2: This is usually an odor-stopping layer. Many of the quality period-panty lines use fabric that’s infused with silver, which has natural anti-microbial properties.
  3. Layer 3: This layer is the one that soaks up the blood and locks it in. Cotton is a popular choice for this fabric.
  4. Layer 4: This is the outermost layer that has a PUL coating. This type of fabric has been treated with plastic. It’s made to let air flow through it–but not fluids. So, if you overflow layer 3, you should still be protected against leaks thanks to this layer.

Even though the crotch in one of these panties has four layers of fabric, period panty makers work hard to keep them thin; they’re usually just a few millimeters thick. In some models, the layered part of the panty only covers the area where a regular-sized pad would go. In others, mainly the ones intended for wear on heavy days or overnight, the absorbent and/or waterproof layers go all the way up to the waistband in the back and/or front.

Some of the brands in this category are:

Check out our Top 10 Period Panty Reviews »


2. Period Panties That Stop Leaks

If you still want to use your usual method of feminine care, like pads or tampons, but have peace of mind against leaks, then period underwear whose sole purpose is to stop leaks might be the best type for you.

This type of panty doesn’t have any absorbing qualities, but it has a leak-proof layer. Usually, that layer is made of a PUL material. This is the same type of fabric that’s often used in babies’ cloth diapers to make them leak-proof. This type of period panty tends to be thinner and cheaper than the absorbent kind of underwear. The waterproof layer can be in the crotch only or go up to the waistband in the front or sides.

Some brands that sell this type of period panties are:

Check out our Top 10 Period Panty Reviews »


3. Period Panties That Hold Pads + Stop Leaks

This type of panty solves the problem of pads moving out of place. They’re snug-fitting, and some also have a sort of “envelope” in the crotch that holds the pad or bands that go across the crotch to hold the pad. Some brands even have PUL to stop leaks.

If you want to keep wearing pads but would appreciate some extra protection from your panties, check out these brands:

Check out our Top 10 Period Panty Reviews »


4. Period Panties That Absorb Menstrual Blood

Some period panties absorb menstrual blood but aren’t made to stop leaks from getting through totally. Women who don’t want PUL in their panties prefer this type of design. Some people don’t like the way PUL feels and think it’s not breathable enough. However, keep in mind that different period panty companies use different types of PUL, so the breathability factor can vary.

These non-PUL brands strive to stop leaks from happening by using fabric that dries fast so that the blood will start to dry up before it has a chance to soak through. They also use unique material that is meant to repel water to discourage leaks from happening. These are good brands to choose when you are looking for a backup for your other form of period protection or if your periods aren’t unusually heavy.

Here are two brands that are meant to absorb blood instead of a pad or tampon but don’t use PUL:

Check out our Top 10 Period Panty Reviews »


Final Say – Do Period Panties Really Work?

Yes, they do, and thousands of customer reviews back that up. Each company has put a lot of time, passion and effort into designing their period panty patterns. Some have even patented theirs. If you’ve been wondering how period panties work, we hope this has answered your question. To get some tips on how to use period panties, check out this article on that topic.

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